18th August, 2011
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) on Wednesday confirmed before the election petition tribunal in Benin, that Edo Majority Leader, Phillip Shaibu, possessed the minimum education qualification to contest the April 26 election.
The petitioner, Phillip Sede of the Labour Party, is seeking the court to nullify Action Congress of Nigeriaâ€™s (ACN) candidate, Shaibuâ€™s election, alleging that he did not possess the minimum education qualification to have contested the House of Assembly election.
Mr. Mark Ojie, a Deputy Registrar in charge of Private Candidate Department, earlier subpoenaed by the court, tendered a a certified true copy of a notification of result with details which verified that Shaibu sat for WAEC in 1996 and obtained the minimum requirement in his result.
But counsel to Sede, Mr. Ferdinard Orbih, urged the court not to admit the document as exhibit, saying that it was different from what the defendant pleaded in his affidavit.
Orbih said, â€œwe are objecting the court from admitting the document as exhibit because the document that was pleaded by the respondent was WAEC notification of result which was front loaded by the other respondent, INEC.
â€œBut what they are seeking to tender now is a letter addressed directly to your lordship which does not meet any of the parameters set by law for the admissibility of document in court.â€
INECâ€™s counsel, Mr. Osaheni Uzamere, who did not oppose the admission of the document, said the notification of result as tendered by WAEC authenticated what the respondent pleaded in his affidavit.
Shaibuâ€™s counsel, Mr. Biodun Amole, in his submission, described Orbihâ€™s objection to the admissibility of the document as â€œmisconceived.â€
He said that â€œwe have copiously contended that the respondent (Shaibu) possesses the minimum education requirement to contest any election.
â€œHaving pleaded this fact, the document becomes admissible in court as it is a confirmation of the respondentâ€™s result.â€
In his ruling, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Paul Elechi, said members of the tribunal had perused the document and were satisfied that it could be admissible as exhibit.
Elechi said that â€œsince the document was copiously pleaded by the respondent, we do not have any reason to doubt its authenticity since WAEC is not an interested party.â€
The Chairman fixed September 19 for the adoption of written addresses of the parties before judgment date would be given.